Some disabled veterans no longer would be exempt from VA loan funding fees as part of proposed changes mandated by a House bill that expands health care benefits for “blue water” Vietnam veterans and others.
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017 would make nearly 90,000 veterans eligible for disability benefits connected to exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants. While those who served in-country are presumed to have contacted such chemicals during their service, a 2002 policy change revoked that presumption for those who served aboard ships off Vietnam’s coast.
Reversing that change, and providing other benefits outlined in the bill, would cost more than $1 billion. To cover that cost, lawmakers plan to adjust the VA funding fee tables, which charge different fee percentages depending on the type of loan, the amount of down payment, the beneficiaries’ type of service, and whether the beneficiary has used the VA-backed loan program in the past.
The House passed the bill on Monday and awaits the Senate’s move.